MLB Win Projections for 2015

Royals
Royals
Can the Royals duplicate their success of last year?

Can you believe teams have already reported for spring training in Florida and Arizona? Seems like the season just ended doesn’t it? Here are you season total win total projections from our friends at Bovada.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      71½ (-115)

Under                                   71½ (-115)

Despite the changes, I like the UNDER.

Atlanta Braves – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      73½ (-115)

Under                                   73½ (-115)

The Braves always seem to find a way to succeed. Take the OVER.

Baltimore Orioles – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      82½ (-115)

Under                                   82½ (-115)

I think they take a step back but go with the OVER.

Boston Red Sox – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      86½ (-115)

Under                                   86½ (-115)

The BoSox have upgraded in all the right places. Take the OVER.

Chicago Cubs – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      82½ (-115)

Under                                   82½ (-115)

Will the Cubs be better? Yes, but I’m not ready for over .500 so take the UNDER.

Chicago White Sox – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

I’m just not convinced this team is ready for recovery yet. Take the UNDER.

Cincinnati Reds – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      77½ (-115)

Under                                   77½ (-115)

Take the UNDER as the Reds are still reshuffling the deck.

Cleveland Indians – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      83½ (-115)

Under                                   83½ (-115)

Take the OVER. I like the direction of the Indians.

Colorado Rockies – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      71½ (-115)

Under                                   71½ (-115)

I don’t see much to be positive about here. Take the UNDER.

Detroit Tigers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      84½ (-115)

Under                                   84½ (-115)

It’s really hard to see them doing as well as recent years with injuries and pitching losses. Take the UNDER.

Houston Astros – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      74½ (-115)

Under                                   74½ (-115)

Arrow up on the Astros. I like the OVER.

Kansas City Royals – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      79½ (-115)

Under                                   79½ (-115)

Can they repeat last year’s success? I say no. Take the OVER.

Los Angeles Angels – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      89½ (-115)

Under                                   89½ (-115)

Take the OVER. Big year coming from the Halos.

LA Dodgers
Can the Dodgers get over the hump and get to the World Series?

Los Angeles Dodgers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      92½ (-115)

Under                                   92½ (-115)

It’s a big number but I’ll take the OVER.

Miami Marlins – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

I really like the OVER here as new additions boost the Marlins.

Milwaukee Brewers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      78½ (-115)

Under                                   78½ (-115)

Take the UNDER in a super-competitive NL Central.

Minnesota Twins – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      70½ (-115)

Under                                   70½ (-115)

Managerial change brings instability. Take the UNDER.

New York Mets – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

What reason have they given me to be excited? Take the UNDER.

New York Yankees – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

If A-Rod can contribute without being a problem, I like the OVER.

Oakland Athletics – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      80½ (-115)

Under                                   80½ (-115)

They stumbled to the finish last year and it continues in 2015. Take the UNDER.

Philadelphia Phillies – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      68½ (-115)

Under                                   68½ (-115)

Can they really be this bad? Yes, take the UNDER.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      83½ (-115)

Under                                   83½ (-115)

Playoffs for two straight years in Pittsburgh and things look as good this season. Take the OVER.

San Diego Padres – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      85½ (-115)

Under                                   85½ (-115)

Fantastic additions but I’m still going UNDER.

San Francisco Giants – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      84½ (-115)

Under                                   84½ (-115)

The defending champs have some offense to replace but I still like the OVER.

Seattle Mariners – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      86½ (-115)

Under                                   86½ (-115)

Could the Mariners be the cream of the crop in the AL? Maybe and I’m taking the OVER.

St. Louis Cardinals – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      88½ (-115)

Under                                   88½ (-115)

This number is really close for me. I’ll take the UNDER but barely.

Tampa Bay Rays – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      78½ (-115)

Under                                   78½ (-115)

I just don’t see this team improving much. Take the UNDER.

Texas Rangers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      77½ (-115)

Under                                   77½ (-115)

With Profar likely out for the season I’ll take the UNDER.

Toronto Blue Jays – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      82½ (-115)

Under                                   82½ (-115)

Lots of excitement in Canada about this team and rightfully so. I’ll take the OVER.

Washington Nationals – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      92½ (-115)

Under                                   92½ (-115)

I see no reason why this shouldn’t be a World Series team. Take the OVER.

World Series Odds as the Playoffs Get Set

Ortiz
Ortiz
Big Papi and the Red Sox await the winner of the AL Wild-Card game.

Here are the latest odds for the remaining teams in Major League Baseball. I have one key question for each team heading into the playoffs.

Boston 15/4 – The Red Sox will await the winner of the Cleveland Wild-Card game from Wednesday evening and in doing so will have plenty of rest. The BoSox surprised many this year with their impressive season. Perhaps it was an indicator of just how badly Bobby Valentine screwed this team up.

The big question I have for Boston is can the starters hold up in these series and get the game to their top notch closer?

LA Dodgers 17/4 – There really isn’t much to say regarding the Dodgers. The pitching should be able to carry the Dodgers a long way in the playoffs but what about the loss of outfielder Matt Kemp? Personally, I don’t think they’ll miss him all that much. With that said…

The big question I have for LA is can Yasiel Puig be a performer in the playoffs?

Detroit 5/1 – The Tigers limped into the playoffs having been swept by the Miami Marlins. Granted they didn’t exactly put their best line-up on the field each day, but going into the playoffs stumbling seems to work for this team. Miguel Cabrera had another fantastic season but he isn’t 100% and needs to get his bat going again.

The big question I have for the Tigers is what can they expect from Justin Verlander?

St. Louis 6/1 – The Cardinals will be facing a very familiar foe in the division series whether it’s Pittsburgh or Cincinnati. St. Louis struggled against the Pirates this season so I’m guessing they’d prefer the Reds. The Cards are in the top five in runs scored and in team batting average so if they can get solid starting pitching they should be OK.

The big question I have for the Cardinals is will the pitching match the offense?

Kimbrel
Can the starters get the game to Kimbrel against the Dodgers?

Atlanta 7/1 – The Braves stumbled to the finish line but survived because of a huge lead they built all season. The outfield could be an issue because B.J. Upton is batting well below the Mendoza line so I believe he’ll be sitting. We know the Braves have a tremendous closer in Craig Kimbrel, but can the starters get to him without having to go through some shaky middle relievers?

The big question I have for the Braves is who is your ace?

Oakland 15/2 – Another magical season out in Oakland has landed the A’s home-field advantage for their first-round series with Detroit. The A’s most recent series against the Tigers saw them absolutely tear them up in Comerica Park so going east should not bother them a bit. The Athletics have always had good pitching but now the seem to have some hitting too.

The big question I have for the A’s is simple; can they finally get ‘moneyball’ to the World Series?

Cleveland 14/1 – The Indians get to sit back and watch the Rangers and Rays battle it out for the chance to fly into Cleveland for the AL Wild-Card game. Cleveland has won 10 straight games and is easily the hottest team going into the playoffs. Cleveland is going with rookie pitcher Danny Salazar who has just ten starts under his belt. He does however have an impressive 11.25 strikeouts per nine innings rank to his credit.

The big question I have to the Indians is can they stay hot? Going from the regular season to the playoffs is not the easy transition many make it out to be.

Cincinnati 18/1 – The Reds are limping into the NL Wild-Card game with Brandon Phillips having struck himself with a foul ball against Pittsburgh this weekend. The all-start second baseman will be less than 100% at game time tonight but should play. Mat Latos was expected to be the starter tonight but has a bone chip in his elbow. Johnny Cueto will get the ball instead.

The big question for the Reds is can they overcome the injury to a key player and handle the raucous crowd that will be on hand tonight?

Pittsburgh 18/1 – What can you say about this team? For the last two years they teased their fans with strong first-halves only to let them back down to Earth with slumping second-halves. There was no such slump this time around for the Buccos. They went into Cincinnati for the final three games of the season knowing they needed two of three to host the very same Reds tonight in PNC Park and they did just that and more sweeping the Red Legs.

The big question I have for the Pirates is can they get the big hit when they need it most?

Tampa Bay/Texas 25/1 – The winner of the 163rd regular season game will not have been decided until I after publish. The winner of the game will travel to Cleveland to play the Indians in the official AL Wild-Card game.

Puig Becoming a Lightning Rod

Puig
Puig
Puig has created a lot of talk in just one month and it's both positive and negative.

It would be very easy at this point in the career of Yasiel Puig to say that he is an amazing talent who is doing things very few have ever done through their first month of pro baseball. It would also be very easy to say that the fame and attention that has come to Puig so quickly is turning him into an arrogant jerk. I think right now it’s a combination of both but let’s be fair for the time being.

Yasiel Puig is from Cuba. In case you don’t know much about our island neighbor to the South, they are a communist nation that struggles to provide for its’ people. Many over the last 50-60 years have attempted to defect to this country in an attempt to gain freedom and start a new life. Some Cubans are successful and many are not. Those that are not are returned to Cuba where they face punishment for trying to flee.

Puig attempted to flee on at least two known occasions. One was when he was with the Cuban National team in Rotterdam. He tried to defect but was caught and was punished by being banned from his Cienfuegos team for a year. That was in 2011.

A second attempt was recently documented by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. Puig was part of a group in a small boat that was intercepted by the US Coast Guard and after two weeks was returned to Cuba. I highly suggest reading the piece.

Before long, Puig was spotted playing baseball in Mexico. How he got there remains a mystery as much as does the question of who got him there does. He eventually signed witht he Los Angeles Dodgers and as they say, the rest is history.

Puig has now played in 38 major league baseball games. His average now stands at .397 and he has eight home runs and 19 RBIs. No rookie has had a first month of a career since Joe DiMaggio back in the 1930’s. His presence has been the driving force behind the Dodgers getting right back in the race for the National League West Division. The boys in blue are just 1.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks who they recently trailed by as much as seven games.

Papelbon
Papelbon is one of several players not overly enthused by Puig.

It has not been all hot dogs and apple pie for Puig though. Many have clamored for him to get put on the National League’s All-Star roster but a backlash ensued. Many, including ballplayers like the Phillies’ Jonathan Papelbon, believe Puig has not done enough to garner an invitation to the game. I happen to agree with Papelbon although I didn’t voice my concerns quite as harshly as he did.

As of this morning, it’s a moot point because Puig lost out to Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman for the one spot selected by the fans. Baseball insiders are citing the backlash against Puig for his defeat. This is not just because he has only played 38 MLB game either.

Puig recently snubbed Diamondbacks’ World Series hero Luis Gonzalez during a brief meeting instigated by Puig’s hitting coach Mark McGwire. Puig claims it was blwon out of proportion even though McGwire reportedly had to talk to the youngster about his conduct.

Several D-Backs including Ian Kennedy and Miguel Montero were quoted as saying that Puig’s style of play was “stupid” and “arrogant.”

Everything else I’ve heard about Puig says that he interacts with fans and is very friendly with the staff at Dodgers’ Stadium. He doesn’t decline autograph requests and is great with kids. Perhaps a lot of it relates to baseball’s ‘unwritten rules’ where up and coming players often need to check themselves or the established players will do it for them.

I have no problem with Puig not being in the All-Star Game. It’s a game for guys who have played well over the last year, not for the last month. If Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB want the All-Star Game to truly be about ratings and just an exhibition, then by all means, let him play to boost the ratings. That is not the case yet.

It will be interesting to see how Puig is received the rest of the year especially if he keeps up his torrid pace.

Who I’m Buying and Selling Early in the Baseball Season

Troy Tulowitzki

 

Troy Tulowitzki
Tulowitzki and the Rockies lead the National League West.

Despite the fact that both the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association both play very long regular seasons, even they can’t compare with the marathon that is Major League Baseball. The 162 games played by the big-leaguers is a long, grueling amount of baseball that starts cold, gets hot and then ends when the frost on the pumpkins starts becoming a norm.

Through the first three plus weeks of the MLB season, there are several things to analyze in moving forward. Who is at the top of the standings that shouldn’t be? Who is at the bottom that shouldn’t be and who is stuck right where we thought they’d be?

If you’re thinking of putting some money down on teams that a month ago you would have said “no way” too then let’s take a look. If you already laid money on teams that are struggling, there’s still time, but I would start worrying a bit.

Who am I buying and who am I selling?

Colorado Rockies – Colorado ranks first in batting average and first in slugging percentage. They also rank 2nd in runs scored and 2nd in fielding percentage. The Rockies have played nine games at home and nine games away. This shows they aren’t just taking advantage of the mile high air in Denver because they are above .500 on the road too. The only issue long-term is pitching where starter Jhoulys Chacin is now on the 15-dauy DL.

With the Dodgers and D-Backs middling around .500 only the Giants are a legitimate threat right now. That will change over the long haul, but with the current offensive pace I have to like the Rockies chances. Verdict: Buying.

Boston Red Sox – Let’s be real here, not many people thought much of the Red Sox heading into the season. Many experts had the Sox and Yanks at the bottom of the division thinking injuries and Father Time would have caught up to them. Yet here is Boston sitting atop the American League East.

Clay Bucholz and Jon Lester have been really good on the hill through the first month of the season and the team is actually playing better on the road then they are in Fenway Park. While I think they’ll need to improve their 15th overall ranking in slugging percentage, I like them to keep things going for the duration if the health stays up. Manager John Farrell has made a big difference. Verdict: Buying

 

Prince Fielder
Fielder is doing his part but the Tigers’ bullpen needs help.

Detroit Tigers – At 9-9 and coming off a sweep at the hands of a previously struggling Anaheim Angels team, there is cause for concern in Motown. Obviously the offense is not typically a problem as they rank 4th in the majors in batting average but their 22nd ranking in slugging percentage is cause for concern.

Prince Fielder is doing his share, but Victor Martinez is struggling and that needs to change. The most pressing issue for Detroit is their bullpen which has already blown several games. With no closer and a shaky middle relief section I’m suddenly not so confident in this team. Only thing saving them is a weak division. Verdict: Selling (for now)

Los Angeles Dodgers – At 8-10 the heavy favorites in the National League West are struggling in large part due to injuries to pitchers Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. Now Chad Billingsley is on the DL with elbow issues.

If pitching were the only problem they might survive, but their offense is lacking now too. They currently rank 27th in slugging percentage and 29th in runs scored.  Teams with the payroll of Los Angeles should usually overcome these injuries but not even they are exempt. Verdict: Selling